No need for public transport drivers to check status of foreign passengers, says Immigration DG

PETALING JAYA: Public transport operators who unknowingly transport illegal immigrants will not be fined as they are not authorised to check the status of their passengers, said Immigration Department director Datuk Ruslin Jusoh.

Ruslin also dismissed as fake a viral notice that public transport drivers will be penalised with a massive fine should they be caught doing so.

In a post on its social media on Saturday (Dec 23), the Immigration Department said that public transport drivers do not have the authority to verify the legality of foreigners and that they should not be burdened to do so.

“The viral notice on WhatsApp that public transport drivers will face legal action for transporting illegal foreigners is fake and issued by irresponsible parties. The public should not be fooled by it.

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“The Department stresses that no action will be taken on public transport drivers who do not know the legal status of foreigners using their service. The Immigration Department acknowledges that the public transport drivers do not have the authority and neither should they be burdened with the onus to prove the status of their passengers.

“However, should they knowingly give protection to those who violate the laws, they can be convicted under Section 56(1)(d) of the Immigration Act 1959/63. The Immigration Department would not compromise and will take action against any individuals violating the Immigration Act 1959/63.

“The public is advised not to be fooled by fake news to avoid confusion and worry among the community. Please check with our portal and official social media accounts to get verified news,” said Ruslin.

Earlier, a WhatsApp message went viral with an alleged notice complete with the Immigration Department emblem claiming that bus, Grab, KTM, LRT, MRT and taxi drivers risk being fined RM35,000 and imprisoned if they are caught driving with illegal immigrants.